This week I’m traveling to Savannah for a conference which got me thinking about traveling. I love to travel. When I close my eyes and picture the future, I see a lot of traveling. I’m a person who is always on the go so being healthy on the go is very important to me.
Most people think when you’re away it’s a “vacation” which may be true. When I’m traveling I don’t like to completely blow it out of the water. Really the only time I didn’t fret much about eating was our China trip. I know there are some situations where a person would want to treat themselves to some local cuisine and I’m completely ok with that.
When we travel somewhere, I cooler is probably not too far behind. We try to bring everything with us. It’s just easier. But there are times when you can lug that cooler around when you, so here are my tips for those times.
My biggest tip: Before you leave, set your limits on things that you are comfortable eating. If you do this before you leave, you’ll already have that in your mind what you’re OK with letting slide and your list of no-nos. For example, I may allow myself to have a piece of cake while traveling but I’m not comfortable with fried chicken. If you set the boundaries before you won’t put yourself in a hard situation later.
Also, create your food plan before you leave. Know the area you will be traveling in and what’s around there. Crazy I know, but I usually pick my hotel based on what’s accessible around it. When I visited Philly last year, I knew I was in walking distance of a grocery store which became my safe haven throughout the trip. I knew I could always walk there and get a good fresh meal without having to worry. I use google maps to search the area around my hotel.
Pack your snacks. My carry on is usually loaded with food. Everything I can bring on the plane, I will. Everything else, I’ll pack it in my bag. Yes, we packed bagels, peanut butter and jelly for China and I’m glad we did because there were times when we couldn’t get food aka breakfast! I keep bars, apple slices, veggie slices…whatever in my bag. It helps a lot. I never want to put myself in a situation where I can find food and I’m hungry. Those times lead to panics which lead to eating whatever is around, healthy or not.
If you’re staying in a hotel, get a room with a fridge and microwave. I always ask, even if I have to pay extra for it. The first thing I do when I get to my destination, is hit the grocery store. I get fruit, yogurt, oatmeal, water…all those things that you tend not to have on hand. This keeps the snacking in control because you have that stuff with you already. Plus, it saves a bit of money. If you go out to eat and don’t eat the whole meal, you can box it up and take it back to the room to eat for another meal. I still do overnight oats when I’m away if a fridge is available. Otherwise, I just do regular hot oatmeal. I know it sounds like a lot of stuff to lug around but eating healthy on the go isn’t always easy but it’s always worth it!
Drink plenty of water. Dehyradation comes with travel so try to fight it off. Carry a water bottle with you and refill it as necessary. This is another reason I like to hit the grocery store when getting into a new city. I always stock up on gallon water jugs or bottled water because that stuff is expensive at a hotel. You’re paying for convenience, I know, but that’s a little too much.
Make the proper choices when you go out to eat. You know what’s healthy. Fish/shellfish, grilled chicken, roasted veggies…those are all pretty much safe bets. If you wouldn’t eat it at home, don’t eat it when you’re out…unless it’s within your boundaries that you previously set. Don’t be afraid to ask for substitutions or without certain things. The only place this could be a problem is a fine dining restaurant because a chef will not compromise their vision for your diet. The waitstaff will problem point you to another option, which may be something that you don’t want. That’s why it’s important to food plan and check out menus before you go to eat.
Side note tip: If you can’t get a fridge there is an option. I bring a collapsable cooler bag and put the stuff I need in it and keep it filled with ice and closed. Don’t go reaching into the bag that often. It takes a little bit to maintain this because you do have to empty out water when the ice melts and keep refilling it BUT it works. I was skeptical, but when we were in Little Rock at the beginning of the year, I had to do this and it worked very well.
These are the few tips I can offer you. I know it’s summer and people will be on the go and this just might make it a little easier for you.
Do you have any healthy eating traveling tips?